Dear Notre Dame Faculty and Staff,
We are filled with optimism as we prepare to welcome students back for what we hope will be a far more typical academic year. We also find ourselves reflecting on the past year, and what comes to mind first is our deep gratitude for your heroic efforts during the ongoing pandemic.
Some of you remained on campus since March 2020 – our faculty who continued to teach, mentor and conduct research at the highest levels, and our staff members who carried out essential functions that enabled our students, faculty, and other staff to advance their own responsibilities and objectives.
Others answered the University’s call to de-densify campus and work from home. Every colleague who worked remotely was forced to adapt and adjust as we discovered new ways to work together even as we were physically apart.
And whether working remotely or in person, so many had to balance professional demands with amplified roles as teachers and caregivers.
There were also those who agreed to join one of the many new teams created as a result of the pandemic – and, similarly, to those who assumed additional responsibilities as members of your home team were called to work on Notre Dame’s COVID-19 response.
No matter what your job was or where you performed it, the past year likely brought not only uncertainty, but also new requirements and obstacles in completing your work. We cannot thank you enough for your perseverance and courage, and we hope that you found unforeseen reserves of strength and patience that will continue to serve you well. The willingness of all of our faculty and staff to adapt, pitch in, and trust in the process were critical factors in our ability to remain in-person during the 2020-2021 academic year.
While your steadfast commitment to Notre Dame is deeply commendable, we are equally awed by your commitment to one another. In an enormously challenging year for all of us, you stepped in and stepped up, demonstrating great kindness to and compassion for our students and your colleagues. We are so very proud to be members of this community.
As individuals and collectively, you made it possible for Notre Dame to be one of the few universities in the nation to offer communal living at full capacity and a majority of classes in person. Your stewardship of the University’s resources has also been crucial to our shared success. It is certain that your partnership in the face of significant restrictions on hiring, spending, and travel has helped the University to avoid furloughs and layoffs, while maintaining a position of relative financial health. For this, we are especially thankful.
We are optimistic that the lessons of the past year will pave the way for a stronger future. The creativity we witnessed this year as we sought ways to inject fun into a very limited student experience, to operate efficiently and effectively in an unprecedented environment, and to accommodate rapidly evolving standards and protocols was nothing short of inspiring. Let us carry the lessons of fortitude and problem-solving with us, no matter what the future brings. Above all, let us all be encouraged by how much we care about and depend on one another – that we are, in fact, members of the Notre Dame family.
With your hard work, and the patronage of Our Lady, Notre Dame continued to advance the University’s mission despite the pandemic. We are so very grateful for all you have done.
Yours in Notre Dame,
Marie Lynn Miranda
Charles and Jill Fischer Provost
Executive Vice President